Welcome to Essential Politics, our daily feed on California politics and government news. Make sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast. Over the course of several weeks of investigating the confusion over how to be a nonpartisan "independent" voter in California, one thing kept coming back to the discussion: the registration form. Not only are there multiple versions in circulation, but there have been three different versions of the official language in the last nine years. And the most comprehensive fix to that language, crafted by a state task force in 2008, was quietly set aside during the state Capitol negotiations that created California's top-two primary system.
At least 45 of the state's 58 counties are just starting to go beyond takeout service and curbside shopping in the most drastic scaling back of the stay-at-home orders since the governor issued them in mid-March. They include Riverside and Sonoma counties, which won approval Friday to join the others moving deeper into the second of a four-stage reopening plan because they have met state standards for controlling the virus.
Get updates throughout UCLA's game at California right here. UCLA's defense is holding Cal in check early on The UCLA offense has been slow out of the gate in Berkeley, but its defense looks to be locked in during the early going against California. There is still no score in the game with 10:25 left in the first quarter. Twice UCLA had a chance to take the ball away from Cal -- the first on a should-have-been Randall Goforth interception and the second on a third-down sack that was negated by a penalty. The Bruins defense stayed stingy from there, even after Khalfani Muhammad burst into UCLA territory on a 12-yard run.
FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2015, file photo, still image from video released by the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife shows evidence of five gray wolf pups and two adults in Northern California. California has its first wolf pack since the state's last known wolf was killed in 1924. They were named the Shasta pack for nearby Mount Shasta. California wildlife advocates say they are searching for seven gray wolves that haven't been spotted in months. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Saturday, March 10, 2017, the first wolf pack to make the state home in nearly a century hasn't been seen since May 2016.
Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed hundreds of structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days. Individually, none of this fall's fires in Northern California came close to the acreage of the 132,000-acre Thomas fire in Ventura County, though combined, the blazes up north scorched more than 240,000 acres. The deadliest fire in Northern California, the Tubbs, burned 36,807 acres and was responsible for 22 deaths, sweeping through swaths of Santa Rosa. Though wind speeds were comparable, "You had 10 large fires within the fires two hours up in Northern California" when the firestorms began, said Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean, compared to just a few in Southern California.